A cohabitation agreement is, according to FindLaw, a contract between two people who live together. The contract functions similarly to a prenuptial agreement in that it outlines the rights and obligations each party owes to each other both during their time cohabitating and upon separation, if applicable. Because of the nature of these contracts, states also refer to them as living together contracts or non-marital contracts. Ohio is one of many states that recognizes this type of agreement.

Like with prenuptial agreements, a cohabitation agreement allows you and your partner to detail how you will divvy up your debt and property should you part ways. If you and your partner have children together, the agreement can guide you on how you should handle custody arrangements. In short, a cohabitation agreement allows unmarried couples to enter into oral or written contracts that grant them the same rights often associated with marriage.

That said, a cohabitation agreement is only as strong as its contents. If you want to ensure you have ample rights upon your separation, there are certain items you should consider including:

  • Property accumulated during the relationship: Define significant property acquired during the relationship and how you wish to treat it.
  • Property acquired prior to the relationship: If you wish to keep items you received before the union, make note of your separate property to ensure there is no confusion.
  • Property obtained through inheritance or gift: Most individuals wish to keep items bequeathed or gifted to them. If you wish to do this, make sure your agreement indicates that.
  • Expenses: If you want to avoid money issues during your relationship, consider using your contract to detail how you and your partner will split the bills.
  • Separation or death: If you want your partner to inherit your property upon your death or vice versa, make sure your agreement stipulates this, as live-in partners are not part of the intestate succession plan.

This article is not meant to serve as legal advice. It is for educational purposes only.